I studied Physics Engineering at Politecnico di Milano (Milano, Italy), where I earned a bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s degree. Both of them consisted mainly of solid state physics classes, with a particular focus on semiconductors (for electronics and photonics application) and magnetic nanostructures. My first experience in research was at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (Grenoble, France), where I spent 10 months working as a trainee for my master thesis project.
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During this project you will develop a mechanistic understanding of the behaviour of the trace-metal molybdenum (Mo) in modern and ancient marine sediments, to help determine whether changes in ocean redox chemistry helped drive major periods of climatic, atmospheric and biological transition in Earth history.
Our approach will combine controlled experiments, with ground-truthing in modern redox sensitive environments, and application to intervals of major environmental change in Earth history. We will determine the detailed pathways and mechanisms of Mo drawdown into marine sedimentary minerals and organic phases under a range of ocean redox states (oxic, dysoxic, anoxic non-sulfidic, weakly sulfidic and highly sulfidic). This enhanced understanding of Mo behaviour will aid application of the Mo redox proxy (which currently only allows us to identify the most extreme ocean redox state (highly sulfidic)), and crucially will greatly extend its application to incorporate an important range of intermediate redox states (e.g., anoxic non-sulfidic; dysoxic) that are believed to have been prevalent during most periods of low ocean oxygenation through Earth’s history.
Ultimately, understanding how ocean oxygenation is linked to biological activity, atmospheric chemistry and climate will significantly improve our understanding of the nature of, and controls on, chemical and biological evolution through time.
This is a joint University of Leeds/ Diamond Light Source 3.5 year fully funded PhD project, including tuition fees, research and fieldwork costs, and a living allowance in line with standard research council PhD projects. You will be based at the University of Leeds as part of the vibrant Cohen Geochemistry Group [http://www.see.leeds.ac.uk/research/essi/cohen-research-group/], and seconded to Diamond Light Source for up to one year to undertake state-of-the-art geochemical research.
You will be part of a world-class research environment. You will be trained in state-of-the-art research techniques, which are directly applicable to a career in academia or industry. You will also be trained in a diverse range of key transferable skills, ensuring you are competitive in any employment sector.
The project is open to UK and EU students. Applicants must be of high academic merit and hold or be expected to obtain a first class honours degree in a geoscience, chemistry or related discipline. This project will lead to the award of a PhD in Geochemistry from the University of Leeds.
For further details please contact Caroline Peacock directly at C.L.Peacock@leeds.ac.uk.
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